Melrose’s Zach P>ack is pushed out of bounds near the goalline by Floyd senior Brad Lee on Saturday. (Freedom Newspapers: Kevin Wilson)
By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers
FLOYD — The Melrose Buffaloes proved they can win without star running back Carlos Ruiz.
With Ruiz sidelined with a heart murmur, Brock Graham led an efficient offense by throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for another as Melrose pounded a shorthanded Floyd Bronco squad 48-0 Saturday afternoon at Floyd High School.
Melrose coach Dickie Roybal he will know more Tuesday about the condition of Ruiz. Roybal said Ruiz is healthy in all other respects, but it was unthinkable to even have him step out onto the field Saturday.
The Buffaloes (8-0 overall, 3-0 in district) were also without end Jose Arenivar (broken arm).
“We had to shuffle some players around,” Roybal said. “The kids we shuffled around, I think they did a very good job.”
The defending state champions have won 10 straight games and gone 18-1 over the last two years, with their only loss coming at Floyd during the 2004 regular season.
“You can tell they are (good),” Floyd coach Rafael Roybal said of the Buffaloes. “They’ve always been a good football team.”
Melrose held the Broncos (3-5, 1-2) to 27 yards while racking up 271 yards in offense.
Playing in Ruiz’ place, Adam Hargrove rushed for 69 yards and a 2-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.
“Our second-string running back did really well,” Dickie Roybal said. “Of course, (Floyd) had some kids injured. They weren’t as big and weren’t too hard to block.”
Floyd played without junior Jason Martinez, who missed his second-straight game with a knee sprain, and senior quarterback Kyle Kropf was knocked out early with a separated shoulder.
Senior Brad Lee rushed for 42 yards, passed for three and accounted for Floyd’s lone first down with a 27-yard run on the Broncos’ third possession.
Rafael Roybal wasn’t in the business of making excuses, but he felt it was an obvious obstacle being without two of his three top players.
“That’s experience right there (being without Kropf and Martinez),” he said. “You have a junior and a senior out, then you put in two freshmen who have never played.”
Graham broke a pair of tackles and eluded a pair of Floyd defenders near the goal line on a 47-yard scoring run late in the first quarter, then returned a punt 62 yards for another score early in the second quarter.
The Buffaloes closed out the Broncos with a 3-yard touchdown toss from Graham to James Tatum on a fourth-and-goal and a 38-yard toss to Lonnie Clark on a broken play as Graham recovered a fumbled snap.
“Our biggest thing is to stay as healthy as we can this week,” Rafael Roybal said. “The (younger kids) played as hard as they could, and that’s a good sign.”
Six-man District 3
Melrose 28 20 — 48
Floyd 0 0 — 0
M — Cedar Rush 10 run (Ramon Arenivar kick), 8:42
M — Brock Graham 35 run (kick failed), 6:18
M — Adam Hargrove 2 run (Arenivar kick), 2:18
M — Rush 47 run (kick failed), :05
M — Graham 62 punt return (run failed), 8:35
M — Graham 3 pass to James Tatum (Hargrove run), 2:51
M — Graham 38 pass to Lonnie Clark (Lane Draper run), :32
First downs 11 1
Rushes-yards 15-216 18-24
Passing yards 55 3
Total yards 271 27
Comp-att-int 3-3-0 2-5-0
Punting 0-0 6-36.2
Fumbles-lost 2-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 2-20 3-12
Rushing — Melrose, Cedar Rush 3-80, Adam Hargrove 4-69, Zach Pack 5-41, Brock Graham 2-33, Lane Draper 1-minus-7. Floyd, Brad Lee 13-42, Kyle Kropf 1-2, Edel Sotelo 2-minus 5, Shawn Atencio 2-minus 15.
Passing — Melrose, Graham 3-3-0-55. Floyd, Lee 2-5-0-3.
Receiving — Melrose, Lonnie Clark 1-38, Hargrove 1-14, James Tatum 1-3. Floyd, Atencia 2-3.
Records — Melrose 8-0 (3-0), Floyd 3-5 (1-2).